The old saying that you can’t keep a good man down seems to be at work in the fortunes of discarded Katutura glamour football club African Stars mercurial but often wayward midfielder McBride ‘Jali’ Ndajvera.
After blowing hot and cold with sporadic appearances during a turbulent stint with the Reds – coupled with off-the-field shenanigans – the highly gifted playmaker has now found his feet on foreign soil.
Unlike many local footballers that are kicking their heels in frustration as a result of the country’s football bosses’ inability to solicit sponsorship for the league activities to get underway, Jali took a bold step to venture into unknown territory.
Fed up with having to play second fiddle while living in the shadows of his less talented teammates because of football politics, the skillful, versatile and hard-galloping midfielder packed his bags and hit the road to cross the Orange River in search of greener pastures.
The strongly built midfielder, who hails from the Cattle Country in the Omaheke Region, made an immediate impact with his new employers, Mthatha City Football Club, an ambitious outfit campaigning in South Africa’s third-tier division, the ABC Motsepe League.
Jali has since established himself as pillar of strength in the Mthatha outfit’s engine room and has earned the respect and admiration of his teammates and at the same time warmed his way into the hearts of the club’s followers with near-faultless and breathtaking displays as he started pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
His club now tops the log standings on 15 points out of a possible 18, two points ahead of second-placed fellow pacesetters EC Bees FC after six rounds of matches in the highly competitive ABC Motsepe League.
In an exclusive interview with New Era Sport, a rejuvenated Jali expressed excitement over the way things are developing and believes the move to South Africa was just what the good doctor ordered for him to get a new lease on life and resurrect his stalling football career.
“So far so good. I must confess I’ve fitted in like a hand in glove with my new teammates and the team’s style of play and I’m quite confident this team will gain promotion to the National First Division (NFD), because of the quality of the squad,” he says.
Jali also noted that his new club boasts a formidable team, including footballers with vast PSL experience.
“The club boasts four very good players on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns and also has on its books top players signed at the beginning of the season from Free State Stars, Chippa United, Amazulu and Maritzburg United.”
Asked to compare the standard of the ABC Motsepe League to the Namibian premiership league (NPL) Jali pointed out that the standard is almost similar, but was quick to point out that the level of organisation is far more professional, while the facilities are top class.
“It’s basically the same, because football is a universal language, but here the tempo is much quicker with lots of emphasis on skill and ball possession. Seriously, for third-tier league campaigners, the club boasts good facilities that include a gym, clubhouse and several other top range facilities.”
So far, the Namibian has started in three matches and provided two assists.
Jali still harbours ambitions though of playing for his native country and hopes his newfound form will in time convince the Brave Warriors’ hard-to-please gaffer, Bucksy Mannetti, to consider him for selection.